Frequently asked questions

Why does UVic need to have campus evacuation procedures?

We need staff, faculty and students to leave the campus until we know campus buildings are safe to occupy. We learned from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand that after a major earthquake we can't be certain about the safety of the buildings until they’ve been thoroughly assessed by experts.

Won't UVic expect me to stay on campus?

No, we expect most people will want to leave the campus to check on their families and homes. Once your home situation is under control, and depending upon the nature of your work, you may be needed back on campus if it is safe for you to return.

When and how should I evacuate the building?

Never leave the building until the shaking has stopped. It is dangerous to try to leave the building during the earthquake as you may be injured by moving objects, furniture, broken glass or the external façade of the building. Drop, Cover and Hold On. Once the shaking has stopped assess the area around you for hazards, and cautiously evacuate. Do not use elevators.

How will I know it's safe to evacuate?

Once the shaking has stopped proceed cautiously to evacuate the building. Watch for hazards such as overturned furniture, shifted objects and broken glass. If you are in a science lab, consider potential hazmat spills or fires. Exit the building carefully, watching for falling debris.

What if an aftershock occurs while I'm evacuating the building?

Drop, Cover and Hold On wherever you are in the building. If you're in a hallway or stairwell, crouch low and protect your head with your arms.

What if I'm trapped in my office and can't get out?

Check the landline phone, your computer or mobile phone to contact Campus Security at 7599 or 6683 or send a text message to a colleague who you know is on campus. If phones and computers are not working, place a large sign in the window with the word "HELP." If you hear rescuers in the building, tap on the wall to let them know you are trapped.

Why can't I re-enter the building after I've left? What do I do if I've left important personal items inside (e.g. laptop, mobile phone, keys, wallet)?

Due to initial damage, and ongoing aftershocks, it is not safe to re-enter buildings. Make your way to the Campus Assembly Area and report exactly what needs to be retrieved to Campus Security. Your items will be retrieved when it is safe to enter your building; this may take days or weeks depending on the status of your building.

What is the purpose of the holding areas?

The holding areas provide safe meeting place options for those who are located some distance from the Campus Assembly Area. These areas are situated away from buildings en route to the assembly area. Holding areas may be used by those needing assistance that are unable to reach the assembly area. Some people will move directly to the Campus Assembly Area, whereas others may wish to move to a holding area first.

What is the purpose of the access routes?

The access routes are considered the safest way to move to the Campus Assembly Area. They are pathways, lanes or sidewalks that keep people away from buildings. If possible, use these routes to move to the assembly area, but remember to watch for unexpected hazards (e.g. fallen lights, fallen trees, vehicles, etc.).

Why do I need to go to the Campus Assembly Area?

We anticipate that most people will want to leave the campus to check on family, friends, homes and property. If everyone tries to leave the campus at once, traffic jams will occur and people may be injured. The purpose of the Campus Assembly Area is to provide a central safe area to provide support and information to members of the campus community and to coordinate the orderly evacuation of the campus. Shelter and medical assistance will be provided, and any available information on the status of roads and areas of the region will be shared.